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Virtio aids EMS software developers with cycle-approximate tech

Posted: 31 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:virtio? virtual platforms? embedded software development?

Virtio Corp., creator of Virtual Platforms for embedded software development, extended its Virtual Platform technology to support highly accurate timing analysis in software simulation. The company's Virtual Platforms now deliver cycle-approximate transactional analysis technology and provide a way for embedded software developers to accurately estimate the timing of routines and system software performance. Cycle-approximate transactional modeling and analysis greatly accelerates time-to-market and dramatically reduces the need for software redesign and performance tuning, said the company.

The Virtual Platform technology provides a means for simulating the behavior, timing and performance of popular microprocessors such as ARM, Freescale MXC, TI OMAP, Intel XScale and MIPS. These platforms model embedded processor cores, memory and peripherals, providing developers with a framework for executing and testing code without requiring access to hardware. A Virtual Platform can also connect to real-world peripherals such as camera interfaces and LCDs for full system-level testing. The processor models can execute targeted binaries as well as an OS and can work with compatible debuggers such as Metrowerks CodeWarrior and ARM RealView.

Virtio added that its Virtual Platforms provide software developers with benefits after hardware becomes available. The models allow access to internal registers that cannot be reached in hardware implementations, giving software developers additional insight into software operation. The result is faster system debugging and integration.

"Virtio Virtual Platforms let embedded software designers make critical decisions on software architecture, timing and even hardware/software partitioning earlier in the development cycle," explained Filip Thoen, CTO of Virtio. "Embedded system architects seeking to improve time-to-market by making the right design decisions earlier now can get more information from the simulation, analyzing architectural tradeoffs and mitigating performance risks."

Cycle-approximate transactional analysis works by determining significant events, such as bus transactions and interrupts, and estimating the number of cycles required to execute those events. The company added that cycle-approximate simulations execute faster than those that adhere strictly to emulating individual system cycles (as performed in cycle-accurate simulations) while maintaining the level of accuracy necessary to provide valuable information for real-time software development and architectural analysis.

"This new cycle-approximate transactional simulation complements Virtio's existing functional transaction simulation technology and enables system designers to focus on critical areas, such as performance and timing," added Thoen. "Designers can explore variations of an architecture model or determine the best way to execute a particular piece of code. One area in which we see immediate applicability and interest is wireless modem development for advanced 2.75, 3G and 4G networks, where real-time requirements are driving the need for this technology."

Virtio offers cycle-approximate technology as a custom service to meet customer's specific requirements, making it possible for design teams to take advantage of its benefits on a project-by-project basis. Available immediately, Virtio's cycle-approximate transactional simulation and analysis starts at $75,000, depending on customers' needs.

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